When the 49ers return home to Levi's Stadium in Week 8, they could play against an unfamiliar quarterback.
The Carolina Panthers reportedly will wait until Cam Newton is healthy to decide whether to start him or second-year pro Kyle Allen, according to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport. A Panthers source told Rapoport that Carolina's eventual win Sunday over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at London's Tottenham Hotspur Stadium would mean "Allen likely keeps his job as Newton makes a slow and steady return to the field from his mid-foot sprain."
The Panthers are now 4-0 with Allen under center after Sunday's victory across the pond. He has completed nearly two-thirds of his passes for 901 yards and seven touchdowns, along with no interceptions. Carolina lost both of Newton's starts, and he completed 56.2 percent of his passes with no touchdowns and one interception. Newton's yards per attempt (6.4) would be the lowest of his career over the course of a full season, as would his passer rating (71.0) and QBR (23.1).
Whether Newton is healthy or Allen continues his winning ways, Week 8 marks the beginning of a stretch in which the 49ers play some of the NFL's best and most promising QBs. From then until the end of the season, San Francisco will see 2019 No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray twice, Russell Wilson twice, Aaron Rodgers, Lamar Jackson and Matt Ryan. Drew Brees could return to the Saints lineup by the 49ers' Week 14 game in New Orleans, but Teddy Bridgewater has yet to lose any of his three starts in Brees' place.
The undefeated 49ers first have to worry about Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams this week before traveling to Washington to play against one of Case Keenum, Colt McCoy or rookie QB Dwayne Haskins in Week 7.
But as long as Allen and the Panthers keep winning, Week 8 is a game on the 49ers' schedule to keep an eye on.